Supporting more successful language learning: Approaches for helping post-secondary learners in three contexts

Elaine K. Horwitz
The University of Texas at Austin
Lama Nassif
Williams College
Duygu Uslu-Ok
The University of Texas at Austin
Claire Meadows-Parrish
The University of Texas at Austin
Keywords: Learner support, learner autonomy, learner beliefs, language anxiety, L2 motivation, teacher training


This paper offers a number of suggestions for foreign and second language teachers who want to help their students develop more positive learning characteristics. In response to a graduate-level methods class designed to help participants develop student-centered instruction, this paper presents three approaches for helping post-secondary language learners in three contexts: Syria, Turkey, and the U.S. The approaches involve learner training projects aimed at influencing learner beliefs and expectations (Project 1), reducing learner anxiety (Project 2), and encouraging motivation and learner autonomy (Project 3). The projects target beginning and intermediate-level English as a foreign language (EFL) and Spanish-language learners. They involve hands-on teaching strategies, awareness-raising activities, and integration of instructional technology. The paper presents a rationale for each project and includes sample activities. It ends with reflections on the learner training projects and implications for the development of such projects in different language learning contexts.

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